The Educational Forum Call for Proposed Papers

Emerging From Standardization: Learning to Teach for Cultural, Cognitive, and Community Relevance

The Educational Forum

Guest Editor: Christine Sleeter

In many countries, the paradigm driving teaching and teacher learning for at least two decades has emphasized standardization. While neoliberalism drove this paradigm in the U.S. and other Western countries, replacing more open and progressive paradigms that had currency earlier, teaching young people to master standardized content has been common worldwide. And its results are less than impressive. In the U.S., for example, student learning on measures such as the National Assessment of Education progress has stagnated and achievement gaps have either remained constant or grown. Yet, a rich tradition of research connects learning to cognitive activity (e.g., Greeno, 2006), social interaction (Ball, 2012; Vygotsky, 2002), cultural context (Rogoff, 2003; González, Moll & Amanti, 2005), and cultural and political relevance (Ladson-Billings, 1995).

Increasingly, new teachers entering the profession do not bring experience with anything other than standards-driven teaching. The question facing many teacher educators is: How can new teachers learn to enact forms of pedagogy they have not seen or experienced, particularly in the context of at least two decades of standards-based and test-driven teaching, as well as a long history of Euro-centric curriculum and colonizing epistemologies? How might new teachers reimagine their classrooms as sites in which youth learn to analyze and transform oppressive conditions, and to value the knowledges of the peoples of whom they are a part? This question may emerge in relationship to a variety of practices such as theme-based curriculum, use of learning centers and inquiry, critical pedagogy, process-based writing, ethnic studies, LGBTQ inclusive pedagogy, community-based youth participatory action research (YPAR), Indigenous pedagogy, hip-hop pedagogy, or hands-on science.

Articles in this special issue will feature new teachers, or teacher educators, or both, who have figured out ways of enacting or supporting paradigms and practices in the classroom that value and work constructively with students’ diversity (diversity may be conceptualized in various ways). In addition, articles will illuminate how new teachers can learn to enact a paradigm of teaching they did not experience as students.

Submission Information

If you are interested in submitting, please send to Christine Sleeter a proposed title, list of authors, and abstract (no more than 600 words total) by May 2018. She will select up to 8 papers to invite for this issue.

Finished articles should be 5,000–7,000 words long (no more than 7,000 words, including references), and written for an audience of teachers and teacher educators. First drafts will be due no later than October 15, 2018.


Ball, A. F. (2009). Toward a theory of generative change in culturally and linguistically complex classrooms. American Educational Research Journal 46(1), 45–72.

Greeno, J. G. (2006). Learning in activity. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed), The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (pp. 79–96). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

González, N., Moll, L., & Amanti, C., (Eds). (2005). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Ladson-Billings, G. (1995) Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal 32(3), 465–491.

Rogoff, B. (2003). The cultural nature of human development. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Vygotsky, L. (2002). Reading 7.3. Mind in society and the ZPD. In A. Pollard (Ed.), Readings for reflective teaching (pp. 112–114). New York, NY: Continuum.